Local, state law enforcement agencies prepare for potential violent protests following FBI warning

Local News

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Following an FBI memo warning of the potential for violent protests at all 50 state capitals in the days leading up to President-Elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, local and state officials say they are monitoring possible demonstrations and threats to prepare accordingly.

“The Dayton Police Department constantly monitors current events and/or incidents that occur locally, nationally, and internationally,” said Sgt. Chad Knedler, homeland security and emergency operations supervisor for Dayton police, in a statement sent to 2 NEWS.

“We have the ability to reach out to state and federal partners to find out the latest information on potential threats or to share any vital or helpful information we may have,” he added.

Dayton police also exchange information with other local agencies in the area, Sgt. Knedler said.

At the state level, the Ohio National Guard is “prepared” but has not yet been requested for any potential demonstrations, according to Eve Mueller, a spokesperson for Gov. Mike DeWine’s office.

“Governor DeWine is monitoring the situation and receives regular briefings from his public safety team,” Mueller said in an email to 2 NEWS.

Marc Clauson, law and history professor at Cedarville University, told 2 NEWS he believes the FBI warning should be taken seriously following the U.S. Capitol riot.

“I think that really galvanized people and officials in particular, the FBI at the federal level certainly,” Clauson said.

The FBI frequently consults state law enforcement agencies about possible dangers, Clauson said.

Clauson told 2 NEWS although he doesn’t anticipate the same level of probability for violent demonstrations at all 50 state capitals, he believes the threats should be taken seriously and that members of the public should report any suspicious behavior.

“Do you see something on their Facebook that looks like they could be violent?” Clauson said. “Not just that they like Trump, not just they like conservatism, but that they could be violent. Have they said something about that?”

Amid growing calls for unity, Clauson said he hopes to see officials lead by example.

“If you have objections, fulfill them at the ballot box,” he said. “Let’s all think that way. Let’s not attack each other.”

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